Source: Library (and, thanks! I asked them to order it for me — they ordered 4 copies for the system and at least 3 have been checked out every time I looked.)
Summary: Food Fight by Daniel Imhoff is about what we colloquially call the Farm Bill with a special emphasis on being a guide to the 2012 version. In order to do that, though, a lot of background and history is required to understand how we got to the complicated and confusing state of affairs.
On page 20, Daniel Imhoff tells us why you should care:
If you eat, pay taxes, care about biodiversity, worry about the quality of school lunches, or notice the loss of farmland and woodlands, you have a personal stake in the Farm Bill. If you’re concerned about escalating federal budget deficits, the fate of family farms, working conditions for immigrant farm laborers, the persistence of hunger and poverty, or how we value local and organic food, you should pay attention to the Farm Bill.
He goes on. The Farm Bill effects everything from climate change to the change in the weight of the average American. There are an astounding number of ways that the Farm Bill impacts energy policy. The conditions of American soil, water, and air are either improved or disastrously harmed by the Farm Bill.
Thoughts: I was trying to detect bias in the book and I found it, but it was toward my opinion, so it didn’t effect my purpose in reading it. I’m not sure I would recommend it to your friendly neighborhood Tea Party member. Your friendly neighborhood Wall Street Occupier, on the other hand, would be happy to have this.
There are potentials for alliance. I imagine that both sides could agree that giving tax dollars to highly profitable agricultural companies is just stupid. However, the largest portion of money in the Farm Bill goes to food stamps (currently called SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). So, the coalition would be short-lived assuming that the Occupier would want to continue to use federal dollars to fight hunger and the Tea Party member might start to argue to eliminate the Farm Bill entirely.
My frustration with the book is really a frustration with the Farm Bill itself. I read the whole book and I still don’t feel like I have a good handle on the issues. Perhaps I should have bought a copy. It’s best use might be to read it through once for an overview and then keep it handy as a reference to different aspects of the Farm Bill when they are discussed.
Appeal: This will be most useful to someone ready to be an activist for the cause. There’s even an “Activist Tool Kit” section at the end. I’ve started following the blog at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition for news on the Farm Bill.
Challenges: This is my 10th of 19 books for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge.
Check Beth Fish Reads for this week’s Weekend Cooking.
Have you read this book? What did you think?